Masters of the Universe

Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Courteney Cox, Chelsea Field, Jon Cypher, Frank Langella and Robert McNeill
Warner Home Video
RRP: 12.99
Certificate: 15
Available now

The battle for Castle Greyskull on the planet of Eternia, key to the control of the entire universe, is led by the hugely-muscled He-Man with his companions Teela, her father Duncan, known as Man-At-Arms and wily dwarf and inventor Gwildor. Allied against them and determined to gain control of the war-torn planet is evil megalomaniac Skeletor with his henchmen Blade, Saurod, Beast Man, Karg and Evil-Lyn. When He-Man and his followers are accidentally transported to earth by the mysterious Cosmic Key, they enlist the help of teenagers to try to return to Eternia...

Masters of the Universe is a very strange choice for release on DVD. It has aged badly and, like the Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles movies, only ever had a limited shelf life in the first place.

The movie is visually impressive, for the most part. However the costume designer should be taken out and shot for plagiarism. Skeletor's goons are wearing Darth Vader's helmet and did I spy a Bobba Fett style helmet too? Also some of the music (much like John William's score for Star Wars) openly steals chunks of Holst's The Planets Suite.

There are some interesting additions to the cast. Not only is this Courteney Cox's first movie, but it also stars Robert McNeill (who went on to play Tom Paris in Star Trek: Voyager) and James Tolkan (who you may remember played Strickland in the Back to the Future movies)

Director Gary Goddard's commentary is interesting. He has a great anecdote about the cameo played by a competition winner who won a part in the movie - but ended up dressed as a Pig Boy guard in the closing scenes. He also tells how the movie was nearly never made as they had to close down production before the movies final scenes were filmed.

Maybe when it was released in 1987 kids flocked to see it. However, I doubt it will appeal to that many people today.

Nick Smithson

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